Sunday, May 27, 2007


I've been picking up some new clothes here and there, because the jeans and hoodies just don't cut it when you're Managing people. Most of my professional-looking clothes were packed away -- deep, deep away -- for quite some time, long enough for me to dislike them when I saw them again, or (and let's be honest here) for them to not fit post-two-baby-me.

I've really been trying to stick to clothes that say "Made in USA" on the label, which makes for a smaller but more considered wardrobe. There aren't a whole lot of options in professional women's clothing anyway, and narrowing down the field on my own makes it harder.

And of course, we all know that "Made in USA" can mean anything but. I'd read the Ms. Magazine article about the textile industry in the Marianas, of course, but figured that somehow those clothes would be marked differently. With what, I don't know. But somehow different.

It certainly wouldn't be listed like this in the catalog!

Cute cut, nice colors, decent price -- a dollar of which goes to the J. Jill Compassion Fund, which they say helps women and children in need. I ordered three. And when I opened, them, I found "Made in Mariana Islands (USA)" printed on the neck.

I sent them this letter:
I refuse to accept this shipment of t-shirts that I ordered. In the catalog, it says they were made in USA. I find now that they were made in the Mariana Islands, which are not a state, are not united in this country's recognition of labor laws and minimum wage, and certainly do not represent America.

I have included a copy of an article from the Spring 2006 issue of Ms. Magazine describing the exploitive conditions these workers face in making clothes for J. Jill and other companies. I refuse to support any of it.

What makes me the most angry about this discovery is the fact that $1 from this purchase goes to something called the "J. Jill Compassion Fund" which supports programs that help women and children. Frankly, considering the forced abortions, abysmal working conditions, and virtual slavery that the garment workers face, the fact that this is called a "Compassion Tee" is a disgusting joke.

I will not be a part of it. I refuse to support it. I will tell everyone I know about it. Credit my account and remove me from your mailing list.


  1. Thanks for your vigilant news on this front.

    This is sobering, because at a certain level I've never been terribly concerned about "Made in the USA". Especially when I think about the many people in developing areas who need work. It's troubling to realize that those who need work are too often abused in this manner.

    And like anything else, the more it's talked about, the more people will be bothered and can start changing market demands on these tarnished goods.

  2. Anonymous7:22 AM

    I think your email had an effect. This is what I see when I click on the link to view the catalog listing:

    "We're sorry.
    We are unable to process online orders or information requests for the item/offer:612531/OR at this time.
    To order this item, please call J. Jill customer service toll-free at 1.800.343.5700."

    --Sarahlynn, posting from a different computer